Hello, I’m…

My name is Kate Gardner. I’m from Washington, DC, but currently live in Nashville, Tennessee, where I’ve found an amazing Christian community. My daily life is a mixture of ministry, investing, and philanthropy. The story of these opportunities stems back to my grandfather, who established a family tradition of giving his children an early inheritance, much sooner than the end of life. My dad continued the strategy and when I was 21 years-old – a junior at Princeton University – I received an inheritance in the form of a stock portfolio. This incredible gift touched me deeply and also launched me into unexpected adventures. I’ve taken a very different vocational path compared to many of my peers and discovering the Gospel Patrons movement strengthened me to be able to think of giving, creativity, spirituality, and relationships as my primary work.


God’s Generosity

I see God’s generosity in the vibrancy of creation. G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” I also see God’s abundance in the beautiful diversity of the people he’s made and their unique personalities. Everything – science, art, mathematics, emotions – they all point to God, the ultimate source, a perfect Father. I hope to continue to grow in the kind of generosity that reflects the nature of this God who gave his one and only Son for us.



When I was a child, my dad or mom would often hand me money to put into the offering plate at church. I didn’t realize how this experience was a foreshadowing of my future. By the time I graduated from college, my inheritance portfolio grew so much I could have retired. But instead of just sitting on the resources, I felt convicted by biblical teaching to give to God a tithe on the original sum. I plucked up courage, created a plan, and then sent out checks to ministries that had meant a lot to me. Although that act of giving originally felt like a sober obedience, the process was more fun and the fruit of the gifts more tangible than I could have ever expected. I even heard a few stories of how those initial gifts made a world of difference. One missions organization that had deeply inspired my faith journey told me that the exact amount I gave had saved the organization from financial ruin in the middle of the year. I was deeply affected and marveled at feeling used by God through the stewarding of capital.


Dangers of Wealth

When I first received my inheritance, I wrestled with how to integrate these new resources into my understanding of myself and my purpose. I felt uncertain about what this would mean for my direction in life. Should I work to make an income or not work? Should I focus on building a new legacy from scratch or stewarding the one I’d been given? It was also very hard for me to talk about the situation with anyone. I didn’t want to feel different than my peers or be judged by them. A nervousness also started to creep in of being taken advantage of relationally or financially. I learned that the generational transfer of wealth can feel like a jarring event that some psychologists have even called a form of trauma. Sudden Wealth Syndrome (SWS) is actually a scientific term now – frequently applied to lottery winners – but I think can equally apply to inheritors as well. People often dream of great wealth without realizing that having resources can be very isolating and lonely.


Treasuring Jesus

I’m very thankful that the lifestyle and friendships I had in college helped to ground me spiritually before the wealth transfer ever happened. I had tasted the pleasures of the Lord’s presence and learned to define my identity in radical Christian community, more than financial independence. I will be forever grateful for that firm-foundation. Since then, my view of Jesus as the true Treasure of life has only increased. I believe that material wealth itself is not good or bad, it’s a tool. And that tool can be used to help us run from the Father like the prodigal son did, or it can help us run to Him and be a part of fulfilling his purposes in the earth. By God’s grace, my experiences with giving have drawn me closer to the Lord.


I Wish I Knew…

I’m grateful to reflect that 25-years-old was the time when the reality of kingdom stewardship became a focus in my life. I’ll never forget the moment I was taking a cab in New York City and listening to the audiobook of Gospel Patrons. The stories of patrons throughout the ages directly inspired the thought that I could make the same sorts of decisions with the time and resources given to me. The last five years of my life have been marked by that direction. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve certainly experienced some hard circumstances. I’ve felt alone in my stewardship and at times taken advantage of. I’ve learned a lot along the way and looking back, I wish I had made more of my giving decisions in community with trusted, loving people, rather than just forging ahead solo and feeling a heavy weight of responsibility. I truly believe God wants us to have fun with the callings he gives us – even financial stewardship – and hope to capture more of that spirit in the years to come!


My Routine

Years ago, I read The Autobiography of George Mueller, a book chock-full of stories of the radical financial provision of God, as well as the power of prayer. Mueller catalogued how he would intercede for specific individuals every day, and then decades later they would come to faith! I decided that this seemed like a very special testimony, and one I wanted to emulate in my life. So I decided to craft a list of the names of family members, friends, and organizations I felt called to pray for every day. I have now been able to combine this intercession with a daily walk, and my prayer walk has become one of my favorite parts of the day. I hope to have similar testimonies to George Mueller of seeing people I love come to know the Lord or get breakthroughs in their lives even if it’s decades from now! I love thinking of prayer as another a form of generosity – endeavoring to sow in the Spirit for the good of others.


Giving Decisions

My giving decisions have been deeply shaped by a quote I came across from Frederick Buechner. Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I decided early on that my deep gladness was in encouraging people and the world’s deep hunger was for the spreading of the gospel. So after my initial tithing gifts to ministries, I began building financial, relational, and prayerful partnerships with 60 individual missions teams in many nations. I scheduled video calls, with these people around the world to check in on them and pray for them. I even had the chance to take a summer trip around the globe to visit many of these missionaries in 12 different countries – an absolute highlight of my life thus far. I have found relational giving to be a real key for me. Most recently, I bought a home to not only live in, but also share with community and non-profit groups. I love that Gospel Patronage is not only writing checks, but also getting to participate personally in acts of generosity that support amazing people and seek to make an eternal impact.


My Mission

I like to think of our own personal callings as specific expressions of the general mission of the body of Christ: to love God and love people (Mark 12:30-31). Even as I support a set of missionaries in different nations, I think we are all missionaries of God’s love among the unique people God has given us to reach. Alongside my central focus on giving resources, I’m learning how I can steward my story, especially with other young inheritors and women who live lifestyles of Gospel Patronage. I love to try to inspire people to see how joy, creativity, and community can flow from a generous mindset.


3 Words

The three words I would want to be remembered by are: wholehearted, noble, and loving. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) By choosing to live a life of generosity in the face of many other options, I yearn to embody the kind of love that I know is possible because of the love that the Lord has for me. Ultimately, my picture of success is to live in such a way that one day, when I stand before the throne of God, I will hear Jesus say, “Well done,” and welcome me into His eternal family forever.


© 2023 John Rinehart